Cup run comes to an end for Thistle

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South Lochaber Thistle’s run in the FA Cup came to a halt in the fourth round when the Kinlochleven outfit travelled to Dreghorn to take on New Farm Loch from the Ayrshire Premier League on Saturday.

Never having made it past the first round of the competition, the Jags were keen to know how far they could take this exceptional run of cup form.

However, two fixtures in a week saw Thistle miss Andrew Mclean who was struggling with a groin strain and then lose Keir Kennedy during the warm up. Despite these set backs it was a strong SLT side that took to the field.

New Farm Loch had the best of the opening play, keeping SLT hemmed into their defensive third.

An ill-timed challenge in the box gave the home side the opportunity to score from the spot and with 22 minutes on the clock Alan Parker duly despatched the finish.

SLT couldn’t get into their rhythm and struggled to make any clear cut chances with keeper Ryan Boomer having to make a handful of saves to keep NFL at bay until half time

At half time the management team of Alan Gray and Albie Robertson let the players know in no uncertain terms that they were not living up to their potential or the coaches’ expectations.

The team talk seemed have some of effect with the Jags getting onto the ball and looking likely to cause issues for the NFL back line.

It made the next goal conceded even more disappointing. Ten minutes into the second half, a corner kick was driven in the box and the ball was hammered home off the cross bar and into the back of the SLT net by Parker.

This spurred Albie and Gray to make a change. The hard working Gillies was sacrificed to get the pace of young Lewis Murphy onto the park with the Jags changing to a 4-3-3 formation.

With the fresh legs on the park, the Jags scored next. A tidy lay off from Munro fell for Dave Forbes who slammed home a first time hit from inside the box.

Leighton Stephenson, who had put in a power of work then made way for Roberto Rodriguez Santos to make his SLT debut.

There was a feeling that SLT could go and grab an equaliser but unfortunately it wasn’t to be with NFL scoring the sucker punch goal as the game opened up. Ryan Beveridge the man to put the tie out of contention with eight minutes left on the clock. Final score 3-1.

Reflecting on a week which had seen his team draw with a Highland League side and then get dumped out of the Scottish Cup, manager Alan Gray said: ‘It has been a great run in the cup – even with having to win through the second round twice.

‘Ultimately, it was disappointing to not get the equaliser today but it’s fair to say that we didn’t play nearly well enough to deserve the victory.

‘We wish New Farm Loch the very best in the next round and for the rest of their season and want to say a huge thanks for their fantastic hospitality as well.’

South Lochaber Thistle return to league action next week with a trip to St Patrick FPs AFC 2s, the team currently sitting atop the Greater Glasgow Premier League, a mere 29 points ahead of SLT, although having played nine games more than the Jags.